Lift Like a Girl: The Importance of Strength Training for Women

Women bear children, hold families together, and do emotional gymnastics, so why is it that so many women feel uncomfortable in a weight room? We’re strong emotionally, but we should be physically strong too.

Weight training prepares women to face obstacles that range from physical health threats, to mental instability. Here are the undeniable reasons every woman should start strength training, today!

Prevent osteoporosis

Roughly 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Eight million of them are women. Women are especially at risk of developing osteoporosis because we have thinner bones than men. Before menopause, women’s estrogen production protects our bones from losing mass. However when our estrogen production slows as we age, we become especially vulnerable to losses in bone density.

Women who do light strength training help prevent bone loss later in life. Lifting kills two birds with one stone because it helps women sculpt their physique while increasing our bone density. Studies show that women who lift weights, and do weight-bearing aerobics in their early adult life prevent the onset of osteoporosis later in life.  

Reduce risk of back pain, arthritis, and diabetes

Strengthening stomach and back muscles also improve women’s health in older age. A recent study conducted over the span of 12 years showed that increasing strength in the lower back muscles reduced lower back pain for 80% of participants.

Lifting and strength training increases joint stability and connective tissues, which helps prevent arthritis.

Strength training also boosts cardiovascular health, including lowering bad cholesterol. If done twice a week, it can reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease.

Finally, four weeks of strength training increases glucose use in the body (versus conversion to fat) by 23%. The long-term result of increased glucose utilization, is a reduced risk of diabetes.

Cut belly fat

Recent studies at Harvard and the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania confirmed that weight training twice a week prevented the increase of belly fat. Arguably, the studies also suggest that weight training is more effective in keeping stomach fat at bay than aerobic exercise.

Aerobic weight and strength training increases lean muscle mass. Lean muscle increases the body’s metabolism, which means that calories are burned while a muscular body is at rest. In other words, women who strength train shed fat faster than women who don’t.

Gain strength without bulk

Although it’s counterintuitive, putting on muscle mass decreases a woman’s physical size. When most of us think of weight lifting, we imagine a rippled adonis. However, in reality, it is difficult for a woman to grow large muscles. Women who do, make a conscious effort to bulk up by training extensively and taking protein supplements.

When typical women strength train, their muscles initially develop as lean fibers while their size overall shrinks. Who doesn’t want to look smaller? Get to a weight room, right now!

Increase energy and fight depression

Initially, when anyone takes on a new workout routine, feeling tired is common. But eventually, as their conditioning increases, they have more energy throughout the day than people who are sedentary.

Better endurance means less emotional swings, and more sustained confidence. A Harvard study demonstrated that over 10 weeks of strength training, women experienced brighter moods. Overall, participants in the study experienced a decrease in clinical depression.

Go get it

So...this should be more than enough evidence that strength training is a girly activity that girls, women and goddesses should embrace like the aspiring healthy, confident, and dignified people we are. What are you waiting for? Get out there and start lifting!

Good luck and remember, just showing up is a success. Be easy on yourself and keep going.